The owner of the XL bully dogs that killed a grandmother in Essex has said he “didn’t realise they were dangerous” but now believes the breed should be “wiped out”.
Ashley Warren’s dogs killed Esther Martin while she was caring for his 11-year-old son – her grandson – in Jaywick, Essex, while he was away in London shooting a music video.
The 39-year-old rapper was arrested on suspicion of dangerous dog offences and has since been released on conditional bail until 5 March.
Warren had asked Ms Martin, 68, whose daughter – his son’s mother – died two years ago, to look after the child while he travelled to London.
He said that Ms Martin knew the dogs, named Bear and Beauty, well and was happy to take care of them as she had regularly played with the animals in the past.
Three months ago, Bear and Beauty had puppies, several of which were still at the house being kept in a small pen.
Describing the day of the attack, Warren, who goes by the rap name Wyless Man, said he left Ms Martin with his son and the dogs at his home at 11.45am to travel to London.
He said that while he was filming a music video, his son rang him telling him that Ms Martin had tried to break up the dogs fighting and they had then rounded on her.
Warren then told his son to get out of the house and rang a neighbour telling him to break in, if necessary, to get his child to safety.
“I never knew any of this was going to happen,” he said. “I would’ve never left my son or his nan in that kind of danger.”
He added: “I did not know bullys were aggressive, I didn’t believe all this stuff about the bullys [being dangerous].
“But now I’ve learned the hard way and I wish I’d never had nothing to do with bullys, they’ve ruined my life and my son’s life.”
“I honestly thought the ban was a stupid government plan to wipe out a breed which I had never seen anything but softness and love from,” Warren added.
“Now I think they need to be wiped out.
“Esther meant everything to my son and everything to me.”
The ban on XL bully-type dogs came into force on 1 February after a spate of attacks in recent years.
It means it is now a criminal offence to own one of the animals in England and Wales without an exemption certificate.
Unregistered pets can be seized and owners fined and prosecuted.
People with dangerously out-of-control dogs can be jailed for up to 14 years and banned from owning animals, and their pets can be put down.